Sheila Raghavendran

MacDonald Scholars


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MacDonald Scholarship connects students with community for long-lasting success

Originally posted on IU Communications’ Student Experience blog.

Photo the MacDonalds Scholars dinner, taken on Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016.

Alumnus Scott MacDonald meets with the inaugural MacDonald Scholars during a recent ceremony. Photo by Eric Rudd.

In 1970, IU Bloomington was very different from IU Bloomington today – its population was only 30,368, the building of Assembly Hall wasn’t yet completed and SPEA had yet to be established. But there is one aspect that has remained for some students and families: struggling to pay for college. Continue reading

Bicentennial intern


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Bicentennial intern projects showcase IU history

Originally posted on IU Communications’ Student Experience blog.

One hundred ninety-six.

That’s how many years since IU was founded in 1820, and today’s campus is greatly transformed from that first version. In anticipation of the 200-year anniversary of the university’s founding, interns for the Office of the Bicentennial have been researching IU’s history for projects that will be featured on the IU Bicentennial website. Their projects will be featured at an open house from 2 to 4 p.m. Friday, Dec. 9, in the Indiana Memorial Union Dogwood Room.

scott jauch

IU Senior Scott Jauch works on his project in the common lounge at the new Media School. Photo by Eric Rudd.

According to Kelly Kish, Director of the Office of the Bicentennial, 2020 will be not only a celebratory year for IU but a moment for reflection.

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Science Fest


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Third annual Science Fest exposes community to science and technology

Originally posted on IU Communications’ blog Science at Work.

On Saturday, Oct. 22, IU was overrun with robots.

These robots — machines such as PARO, the therapeutic robotic seal — were on site for holding and petting as part of the School of Informatics and Computing’s activities at the IU Bloomington College of Arts and Sciences’ third annual Science Fest. Continue reading


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Breaking point

Stress is a mess.

Immense stress that results in an intense emotional moment, coined the “breakdown” or “meltdown”, is not uncommon for high school students.

According to The Franklin Institute, lack of sleep, lack of exercise and overstimulation result in overactive stress hormones that damage and kill brain cells. School psychologist Jeff Schlaeger said that this imbalance in the brain triggers a breakdown.

“You have portions of your brain that are geared to respond to stress or danger or overstimulation or work, and that balance is knocked off or skewed [during a breakdown],” Schlaeger said. “There [are]…not enough of the healthy things for your brain–like appropriate sleep, exercise…so then the system…gets unbalanced and is hard to get balanced again. So then you have this vicious cycle, where you’re already unbalanced, you’re staying up until 2:00 am for…a tough AP class, and you’re adding more coffee and Monsters and sleeping less and less, and not exercising…that’s not the solution.”

For junior Jenna McCabe, her breakdown moment involved the two-time damaging of her self-portrait project. The first accident was because of spilled hair dye. The second was thanks to McCabe’s dogs playing on top of the project.

“[My dogs] got on top of it and they were just scratching it and I yelled at them and told them to get off,” McCabe said. “I looked over and I just sat down on my bed and I was like, ‘Mom, I give up.’…I just bawled. I felt so pathetic.”

McCabe’s stress was soon alleviated with help from drawing teacher Beth Eline, who helped cover up the marks.

Not every breakdown, however, is resolved similarly. According to junior Corie Lawhorn, breakdowns are attributed to many demanding responsibilities piling on a person. For Lawhorn, a dance team member, long practices and schoolwork are a difficult combination.

“Recently [in] AP Bio…there was a point where she updated grades and I was really frustrated about it,” Lawhorn said. “And there was stuff going on at dance and it just gets super stressful when there’s a lot happening altogether. I just kind of broke down.”

Parental pressure is also a driving force of overwhelming stress, according to Lawhorn.

“I think there’s a lot of pressure now as you get older because you have college looming over your head, and with [pressure from] parents,” Lawhorn said. “My parents push me really, really hard. So that causes it too.”

Schlaeger said that expectations imposed by parents, teachers and counselors lead students to stress and eventual breakdown. The key to overcoming outside pressure is to prioritize responsibilities and [to be] aware of personal breaking points, he said.

“Everyone has their limits of what they can handle, from personality and cognitively and just attention span,” Schlaeger said. “…Prevent- ing [a breakdown] is just knowing your limits.”


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Players come face to face with football’s violent reality

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Football games aren’t supposed to end this way. Competitors are supposed to shake hands and go their separate ways, but instead Dwire Field was hushed last Friday night at the sight of two Oak Hills players laying motionless on the soaked turf while emergency medical personnel prepared to load them into ambulances. With a little over a minute to play in the Highlanders’ win over the Comets, Oak Hills senior defensive backs Cary Jones and Khiren Beamon collided head on during a play reminding everyone of the violence of football.

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Students reflect on equality advancements

This post was originally published in Today’s Pulse of Warren County.

President Barack Obama’s inauguration ceremony and Martin Luther King Jr. Day fell on the same day this year, a coincidence that has occurred only once before.

President Obama’s reelection manifests America truly is a melting pot, Mason High School junior Clement Coleman said. The country has embraced diversity and does not depend on one predominant race, he said.

And Mason is making social advancements along with the nation, Coleman said.

“This area of Mason is becoming more diverse each and every year,” Coleman said. “I believe that Mason is moving forward with the country and is willing to adapt to new change.”

The inauguration and Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebrate civil rights activists, according to MHS history teacher Steve Prescott.

“Although it’s a celebration of great men, it’s also a celebration, and not to be forgotten about, of all those that fought for civil rights,” Prescott said. “And, if you will, those who fought for President Obama’s election.”

The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s advocation of equality spread to more than just racial segregation, Mason High School junior Mohamed Elzarka said.

“Martin Luther King Jr. wasn’t talking about just the white-black issue,” Elzarka said. “He was talking about every single American, every single person in the world having the equality they deserved and that every single person was eligible to the same rights that every other person had.”

Elzarka said Obama’s reelection is proving King’s dream.

“Just by continuing his term he’s making history again,” Elzarka said. “That kind of idealizes Dr. King’s dream in the fact that people are becoming more equal and showing that it’s not just that he was elected into office because he is African-American, but he is actually making a difference.”

Elzarka said that while America is taking significant steps towards racial equality, there is still more progress to be made.

“It shows that we’re moving towards the right direction, but we can’t just take it at face value and stop trying to move forward after this moment,” Elzarka said.

According to Prescott, change can only be made through support.

“I think it’s important to realize what you have in terms of support whether it’s family, or teachers, or whoever to support you before you try to make change,” Prescott said. “I think part of the change you have to realize who’s with you.”